Remember the flurry of moves made by Walt Jocketty and the Cincinnati Reds this offseason?
Lucky for you, I've kept an intricate spreadsheet the size of a matchbook detailing how all of the major moves of the offseason have played out, and I've spent about eight seconds a day furiously updating it to ensure we have all the necessary data to keep us abreast of all important statistics.
It's been a painstaking process, I assure you.
Though it seems as if the 2014 season just began, it's already over 10% in the books, and with that in mind, let's take a gander at how some of the players involved in the major offseason decisions have performed to date.
On November 11th, 2013, Choo declined the Reds qualifying offer of roughly $14.1 million in order to pursue free agency, and while the Reds made a point to say that they'd love to have him back, they were never truly realistic players in the market for his future services. What the Reds meant, of course, is that they'd love to have him back because he's a fantastic baseball player, but that they weren't about to add enough commas and zeroes to his contract to field a reasonably competitive offer. As a result, Choo inked a 7 year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers, and Choo's status as the leadoff man for the Reds became past tense.
So far, Choo's picked right up where he left off. He's slashing .313/.429/.465 for the Rangers, and while he's yet to see his 20/20 pace take off (just 1 HR and 1 SB), I'd wager that the Rangers are largely happy with how he's performed. Considering they've got Prince Fielder hitting .188 and a training room full of injured pitchers, he may well be the least of their concerns.
The Reds and Arroyo had a similar back and forth as they did with Choo following the completion of the 2013 season, albeit on a much smaller scale. The veteran RHP, who had spent the previous 8 seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Reds following his trade from the Boston Red Sox, often expressed his affinity for the city of Cincinnati and the club for whom he played, and while the Reds acknowledged that they'd love to keep him around, it was clear from the outset of his free agency that each side had much, much different terms in mind. Arroyo was entering his age 37 season and was looking to cash in on one more big contract based upon his unmatched durability, but the Reds had their financial resources targeted elsewhere and had a ready-made 5th starter ready (Tony Cingrani) ready for the big stage. After a long wait, Arroyo finally signed a 2 year, $23.5 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in February, closing the books on a team Hall of Fame worthy Reds career.
Arroyo's frisbee curve hasn't exactly blossomed in Arizona. He's started 3 games so far, and he's not gone deeper than 5 innings into any of him. He's sporting a 9.95 ERA, a WHIP of 1.974, and his K/BB (1.50) is the worst it has been in over a decade. Arizona, like Texas, has seen their pitching staff ravaged by injury in 2014, so Arroyo's got some leash to play with for the time being, but it's safe to say that the Reds haven't missed him so far.
When the Reds signed C Brayan Pena to a two year contract on November 12, 2013, it became rather obvious that one of the catchers from the 25-man roster was set for the boot. Given that Devin Mesoraco was a 25 year old former uber-prospect making the league minimum and Ryan Hanigan was a 33 year old slated for a raise coming off an injury-filled season, it became pretty evident who the player likely to be swapped was, and on December 3, 2013, the Reds shipped Hanigan to the Rays in a 3-team deal that also involved Arizona. That the Rays would have interest in a catcher like Hanigan wasn't surprising. They'd apparently been enamored with his defensive abilities, pitch framing, and ability to call a game for years. However, when they opted to sign him to a 3 year, $10.75 million extension, a lot of folks were a bit shocked.
So far, the Rays haven't been disappointed in their acquisition. Hanigan is sporting an .831 OPS through his first 44 PA, his defensive metrics grade him out as one of the best at his position (still), he's leading the majors in catching would-be base stealers, and listening to the Rays' broadcasters talk about him would make you think they sponsored his fan club. Mesoraco and Pena's performance have done more than enough to make the Reds not need to miss Hanny, but the former Reds backstop has fortunately done plenty to show that he's got a lot left in his tank, too.
Acquired from the Diamondbacks in the aforementioned 3-team trade involving Hanigan, Holmberg is a still-young 22 year old LHP who had just a single Major League start to his name when acqured. Despite the one big league start, Holmberg had never pitched above the AA level of the minor leagues, and since he was a depth acquisition for the Reds (as opposed to someone brought in to challenge for a spot in the 2014 rotation), he was always expected to begin the year in AAA Louisville to continue to perfect his craft. Not overpowering, Holmberg has always been a four pitch pitcher with a fastball that sits around 89-91 mph, and while he was generally well thought of among prospect rankers (mostly ranked between 5th and 12th in the Reds system), nobody was calling for him to evolve into much more than a 4th starter, at best.
3 starts into his career with the Reds organization, Holmberg's looked rather Arroyo-ian. He's made it through just 9.1 total innings in his trio of starts, and currently sports an ERA of 14.45, a WHIP of 2.571, and easily the worst K/BB (1.25) of his minor league career. There's still enough about Holmberg's arsenal to suspect this is a blip rather than an epidemic, but he's clearly not fooling anyone right now.
NERTS was picked up on a 2 year, $2.28 million contract following a year spent with the Detroit Tigers, and the 32 year old came in with a reputation befitting a vintage backup catcher. The 10 year MLB veteran - who had spent stints with both the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals - was signed both as a potential replacement to Hanigan (which materialized) and genuine clubhouse good-guy (which has also materialized), and after hitting .297/.315/.397 for the Tigers in 2013, the switch-hitting catcher also projected to be an upgrade as a pinch-hit worthy bench bat.
Pena, thus far, has been everything the Reds could have asked for. He's hitting a sparkling .308/.400/.423 in 30 PA, he carried the bulk of the catching load through the first week of the season while Mesoraco recovered from an oblique injury, and in the wake of fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman's horrific facial injuries, he showed the clubhousey good-guyness he's become known for by spending time at the hospital and snapping some good/great/disgusting photos for his Instagram account.